The offense was offensive for most of Thursday night in San Francisco, but when the 49ers needed to move the ball in the second half, they turned to Frank Gore. And it worked.
Gore showed off his usual mix of speed and power, finishing the game with 16 carries for 131 yards, and the 49ers beat the Seahawks 13-6.
The 49ers needed Gore to turn in a big game because quarterback Alex Smith struggled for the second consecutive week. Although Smith reduced his interceptions from three in last week’s loss to the Giants to one on Thursday night against the Seahawks, that one was a bad one in the end zone, and Smith wasn’t particularly effective doing anything other than dumping short passes off to Gore: When throwing to Gore, Smith completed five of six passes for 51 yards, but when throwing to anyone other than Gore, Smith was just 9-for-17 for 89 yards.
But the 49ers’ offensive effort was enough because the Seahawks couldn’t move the ball, either. Like the 49ers, the Seahawks’ offense was limited mostly to giving the ball to the running back: Marshawn Lynch had 19 carries for 103 yards, but quarterback Russell Wilson completed just nine of 23 passes for 122 yards, with one interception. Wilson will have growing pains as a rookie starter, but the Seahwaks need him to get better if they’re going to be a playoff team.
Questions remain about whether Smith is a quarterback the 49ers can win a Super Bowl with. But there’s no question that the 49ers are in control in the NFC West.